White Mountains Online

Turkey . . . (Meleagris gallopavo)


A wary and keenly observant bird, the wild turkey makes for an extremely challenging hunt. The display of the male (tom) includes an impressive fanning of its large tail feathers.

Description: Bronze, iridescent body with paler, barred wings. Tail feathers are buff-bronze with whitish tips. Head has no feathers and is a mottled blue with red wattles.

Habitat: Mountain forests and broken woodlands. Also found in logged-over land and oak stands. Roosts in tall, older pine trees. Leaves roost site at daybreak to feed. Spends warmer part of day "loafing" in or near brush piles or downed trees where cover is readily available. Turkey are usually found in elevations between 5000 and 9000 feet, along the Mogollon Rim and White Mountains.

Food Preferences: Insects, juniper berries, acorns, grass seed, mast, pine seeds, and green weeds.

Breeding notes: Breeds April through May. Young hatch in June, with an average clutch of nine chicks.

Predators or Enemies: Bobcats, coyotes, foxes, eagles, and horned owl.

Size Individual Range: 5-30 square miles

Distribution: 5,000-9,000 feet along the Mogollon Plateau and White Mountains.

Live Weight: Male: 15-30 lbs. / Female 8-12 lbs.

Hunting hints: Complete camouflage clothing is essential. Weapons and bare skin (face, hands, etc.) should be camouflaged as well. A U.S. Forest Service Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests map is essential. Plan on scouting for evidence and appearance of turkey prior to your hunt. Set up hunting spot prior to daylight near roosting area. A good call, or the ability to call turkey, is a necessary spring hunting tool.

Information courtesy Arizona Game & Fish Department, Region 1-Pinetop,AZ